Simple Tips for a Fun Photo Session
Today I am turning over the blog to Melissa Lynch, Dog Trainer Extraordinaire – Mountain High Dog Training. She has some simple tips for a fun photo session!
I met Melissa Lynch, Dog Trainer Extraordinaire – Mountain High Dog Training, in 2005. She has taught me LOTS about dog behavior and training.
Here is some background on Melissa;
Melissa graduated from Postdam College in New York with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Health Science. After graduation, she went on to work in the psychiatric field for several years. During this time she was always involved in rescuing and fostering dogs in need. Soon after moving to the Seattle area Melissa made the decision to follow her dream of working with dogs full-time. She went to work at Kozy Kennels in Redmond, managing the kennel for more than five years. She then decided it was time to take the next step toward helping dogs and their human guardians and became a full-time trainer with Riverdog K9 Coaching, a large training facility in Issaquah.
Along with honing her skills at Riverdog, Melissa has traveled throughout the country learning from some of the most accomplished trainers in the field. Throughout her training career, Melissa has been able to focus on positive training techniques, working with many different breeds, sizes and temperaments in classroom and private in-home sessions. She found dogs and their guardians excelled with private in-home lessons and has made this the focus of Mountain High Dog Training.
During her free time Melissa enjoys spending time with her pack, husband Scott (from Julie- Scott is an amazing chiropractor at Valley Chiropractic Wellness Center in Duvall, Washington), dogs Tala, Teo and Naya as well as 7 cats. She also volunteers at Homeward Pet Adoption Center (a no-kill dog and cat shelter in Woodinville) and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). She believes all dogs and their guardians have the ability to live a long, healthy, happy life together. Let her teach you how.
Simple Tips for a Fun Photo Session
by Melissa Lynch, Dog Trainer Extraordinaire – Mountain High Dog Training
It’s always helpful if your dog knows some basic obedience you can use when having photos taken.
Teaching “sit” is very simple. Basically, by luring your dog to move his nose, the rest of his body will follow. So, if you slowly lift a food lure upward and backward over your dog’s nose to pass between his eyes, as your dog looks up to follow the food, his rear end will descend into the sitting position. Say “sit” before you move the lure, and give the food each time he sits. Say your release word (many use “ok”) quickly, before he gets up. Practice this with him at your side and in front of you.
During your photo shoot it will also be helpful for your dog to know a stationary position. “Wait” means stop your forward motion and is a good place to start. Always start your training on a leash it will give you more control when he moves out of the “wait” position.
Begin by walking your dog to a door. A screen door is best at first so you don’t lose visual contact with your dog. Give him the command to “sit”. A dog will hold still in a sit position a little longer than he would if her were standing. With your fingers pointing upwards, show the dog the palm of your hand and give the command “wait.” Begin to open the door. As soon as your dog moves, close the door. Continue this opening and closing of the door until your dog does not try to walk through the door when you open it. The purpose of the repeated opening and closing is to teach the dog that he cannot anticipate if the door will open completely or not.
Eventually, you should be able to open the door and your dog will remain seated. Make sure you are treating your dog when they remain in the seated position and don’t forget you use your release word to allow them to cross the threshold.
Soon, you should be able to walk through the door to the other side while your dog waits. Once your dog has mastered “wait” from the “sit” position, try it while he is standing or in the “down” position. When your dog has mastered all three of these positions it’s time to try them off leash. This will surely make for a more enjoyable, controlled photo shoot.
The day of your shoot it is really important to take into consideration your dog’s needs. Younger more energetic dogs will require some exercise before you ask them to remain calm for pictures. An older or ill dog may require rest so they are not exhausted during the shoot. The temperature may also play a role in how your dog is feeling so pay attention.
Last but not least, plan on bringing some high value treats to your photo shoot. I would recommend not feeding your dog so they really want to work for the treats. You may give a little snack if you are worried they are starvingJ The treats should be something your dog really wants to work for like chicken, hotdogs or string cheese. Again, take into consideration what your dog likes.
Following the above recommendations will surely help make your photo shoot more enjoyable for you and your pup.
Thanks for all of the wonderful tips Melissa! I look forward to photographing you and your dogs again soon!